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01.12.2018 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

BMC Public Health 1/2018

Retrospectively assessed psychosocial working conditions as predictors of prospectively assessed sickness absence and disability pension among older workers

BMC Public Health > Ausgabe 1/2018
Emil Sundstrup, Åse Marie Hansen, Erik Lykke Mortensen, Otto Melchior Poulsen, Thomas Clausen, Reiner Rugulies, Anne Møller, Lars L. Andersen



The aim was to explore the association between retrospectively assessed psychosocial working conditions during working life and prospectively assessed risk of sickness absence and disability pension among older workers.


The prospective risk of register-based long-term sickness absence (LTSA) and disability pension was estimated from exposure to 12 different psychosocial work characteristics during working life among 5076 older workers from the CAMB cohort (Copenhagen Aging and Midlife Biobank). Analyses were censored for competing events and adjusted for age, gender, physical work environment, lifestyle, education, and prior LTSA.


LTSA was predicted by high levels of cognitive demands (HR 1.31 (95% CI 1.10–1.56)), high levels of emotional demands (HR 1.26 (95% CI 1.07–1.48)), low levels of influence at work (HR 1.30 (95% CI 1.03–1.64)), and high levels of role conflicts (HR 1.34 (95% CI 1.09–1.65)). Disability pension was predicted by low levels of influence at work (HR 2.73 (95% CI 1.49–5.00)) and low levels of recognition from management (HR 2.04 (95% CI 1.14–3.67)).


This exploratory study found that retrospectively assessed high cognitive demands, high and medium emotional demands, low influence at work, low recognition from management, medium role clarity, and high role conflicts predicted LTSA and/or disability pension.
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